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How can EU politics be lobbied in emerging policy fields? Civil Society strategies in Brussels

Matthias Freise
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Matthias Freise
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Open Panel

Abstract

In recent years, lobbying strategies and framework conditions of organized civil society in the European system of multi level governance have drawn the attention of many research projects. This particularly holds true for policy fields that are communitarised by the European treaties. Here, political science has investigated network structures, constellations of actors and policy instruments in detail and shown how the countless civil society interest groups in Brussels try to get the “honey and money of desired EU legislation, subsidies and more” (van Schendelen 2005). In contrast, the knowledge about the strategies of organized civil society in non- or just recently communitarised policy fields is rather low. How do interest groups try to get their matters on the political agenda when there are no institutionalized procedures like consultations available? What kind of coalitions do they build? What kind of lobbying instruments do they use? How do they include their national member organizations in their lobbying strategies? These are the key questions of the proposed paper. They are being answered on the basis of a theory-guided analysis of several qualitative case studies carried out by the members of the research group “European Civil Society and Multilevel Governance” (http://nez.uni-muenster.de) at Münster University between 2008 and 2010 in several PhD projects. Focusing on civil society organizations in Brussels active in the policy fields of Global Health, Amateur Sports and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual concerns (LGBT movement) the paper provides empirical evidence on how the buttons are pushed in the multilevel governance system.